We're a little crazy, about science!

A wild collaborator appears!

A robot… in parts.

It seems like weird stuff just keeps happening left and right lately! Yesterday out of the blue I heard from a collaborator I worked with from the UK. It’s been months since we last spoke and he had some personal issues due to COVID, so I wasn’t actually sure I would hear from him again.

That bipedal walking robot I built? He was one of the people who helped make it happen. We’ve been working on publishing my results in a journal, but all the journals seem to want more from us… I literally built an entire robot using novel techniques, but they want to see how it walks, or balances, or does hand stands (semi-serious).

The point is, they all seemed to want more. It was somewhat disheartening, I mean I poured my heart into the project and we built something that could be controlled very easily, had almost human range of motion (minus the hip, but I designed a fix for that before I left), and had the most advanced knee on the planet. I’m only semi-bragging on that part, but it’s true, all the performance metrics we used to evaluate it blew the rest out of the water.

Right as COVID hit we were about to submit to another journal. Literally right when I was supposed to skype with him about the submission I got word someone close to him was in the hospital with COVID. Of course I told him to take all the time he needed and that was the last we spoke. I thought the paper was dead, which was somewhat fine, I mean getting rejected a few times is not a fun feeling, especially when it takes 6+ months to get that rejection.

Well today I have a meeting with him. We’re going to try to submit it again after making some changes to the paper that better highlight the range of motion, the human like joint stiffness, and of course my super fancy locking knee design. I’m not sure how it will go or if this submission will be any different from the last few, but my former PI and him both seem confident we will get it published, it’s just a matter of where and when.

It feels like it’s been forever, but I guess it really only has been a few months. I’ve got other projects now, other goals, and new things I’m learning. I even have a whole other journal paper that is super close to being ready to submit, so a lot has changed since I started this paper, but I’m glad to finally make some forward progress on getting it published.

That’s it, that’s the update for the day. Oh and of course, the obligatory photo of my baby. A full sized, balanced (it’s standing on its own), bipedal walking robot. In some ways, I feel like it’s ahead of its time, it’s a semi-soft robot. While soft robotics is becoming a hot field, I think the combination of the rigid robots we are used to and the fully soft robots that are coming out is the best way to get something more human like and less… robotic. My dream is to merge this work with my brain-machine interface work and create a whole new line of prosthetic devices. A guy can dream!

Robot
It’s hard to tell at this angle, but it’s standing on it’s own without any support. This was the first time I had it fully assembled and I wasn’t positive it would stand, but I was a proud robot dad.
Here’s a shot taken more at the side showing that it isn’t leaning on the table or anything. If I had known these were going to be the only photos I would get of it fully assembled I think I would’ve done things a bit different.

But enough about us, what about you?

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